Tuesday, July 5, 2011





Posted July 5, 2011.


June 29, 2011. Buckwheat Valley Citizens Coalition's (BVCC) Public Relations representative, Alvin Brinkman, went shopping at the American Transmission Company's ATC Open House event, held in Mauston, Wisconsin. Here is his report.

" It was a beautiful summer day and I hated the idea of going inside a building but, it was my assignment, and I usually finish what I start. Once inside, signs pointed me in the direction of a reception area with an army of ATC intake staff (all punching keys on laptop computers) and beckoning me to come to their window (as if I had just entered a fast food restaurant order counter). They wanted to enter my name in their data base and print out a paper stick-on name tag for me to wear. I don't know about you but, I hate wearing name tags, and I definitely did not want to be on another data base, especially this one. So, I declined, and was gruffly pointed in the direction of a set of large doors, which I entered. Inside was this huge open arena with over thirty or so people walking, talking, pointing, and mulling around. I was immediately (almost grabbed by the arm) and prompted by ATC staff to enter into a enclosed tent where I was expected to sit down and be indoctrinated by an ATC-DVD film presentation. Well, I passed on that too, and began walking to the first booth. I felt like I was in a carnival (about to throw nickels into fish bowels for a stuffed poodle prize). I walked over to a huge map (the size of a war room) and began listening to some of the ATC staff sales pitches (its always interesting to walk up to a group of attendees and get close up and pretend-I'm with them) making it OK to listen in. After about twenty minutes of listening to ATC explain where their towers were going to go, I came to my senses and realized, I was not in a carnival, this was a car dealership, or should I say a tower dealership. The whole purpose of this exhibition was for ATC to explain where they might park their new 170 foot high massive electrical transmission towers. Knowing a "little bit" about the proposed ATC Badger Coulee Line proposal (probably as much as anyone in the room did) I went from booth to booth asking questions, getting no real definitive answers, and then, I got busted. One of the ATC staff asked me: "Are you the guy on the Wisconsin Public Radio talk show with Joy Cardin?" The talk show topic was: "ATC's 425 Million Dollar Wisconsin Transmission Line Project-Called The Badger Coulee Line." I just happen to be (as Joy Cardin put it) "opposed to the ATC-BC project," and that meant that my anonymity at this tower dealership event was over. I then put on my BVCC hat, and soon I had four ATC sales persons doing a four on one routine. Not to worry, I have played in bigger games than this before. I went directly into my challenge mode and began asking real direct questions about the ATC-BC application like: Can you show me the study data supporting ATC's promotional claims? Will ATC share its proposal application draft with the public? Did ATC decline an invitation to meet with a prominent Wisconsin County Board Of Supervisors (in a public meeting to discuss the need for the Badger Coulee Line) because ATC as informed that BVCC would also be present (to challenge the ATC presentation). Soon, I sensed my welcome was worn and tattered, so I thanked all four of my opponents with a hand shake and went on my way. Since then, several days have passed and I have not received a single response to my questions (as promised by the ATC gang of four). In the end, I did not buy their tower scheme, nor their "Not in my back yard" divide and conquer strategy. In stead, I turned my ATC switch off, and went shopping again. This time I bought a case of compact florescent light bulbs, because I plan to keep the lights on!"
Contact us at: buckwheatvalley@mwt.net